NZRPA 2017 Player Personal Development Annual Awards finalists and winner announced

Awards background:
All New Zealand Rugby Players’ Association members are encouraged to work on their own off-field growth and development during their professional playing careers both in preparation for their next post-rugby chapter and to help provide balance, value and success to their life. 

This space continues to grow as players become more aware of the importance of being prepared for their next steps away from rugby and they recognise and further appreciate the value of having a strong emphasis on their own personal growth off the field. As a result, there are some impressive achievements being made by players. The annual NZRPA Player Personal Development Awards celebrate some of these achievements. 

Nominations: Each Personal Development Manager from around New Zealand was invited to submit a nomination from a player within their environment who has worked hard on their personal development. These nominees were then sent to a panel which reviewed and selected the finalists and an overall winner.

The Personal Development Award panel is Tim Weston, NZRPA National Personal Development Programme Manager, Dr Nathan Price, the New Zealand Rugby Education Manager, and Peter Sinclair, a former teacher and Personal Development Manager with 11 years of experience with the Highlanders and Otago.

Finalists:

Joe Royal – Counties Manukau Steelers
Reggie Goodes – Hurricanes and Wellington
Ruby Tui – Black Ferns Sevens
Tim Bateman – Crusaders and Canterbury

Winner: Reggie Goodes – Hurricanes

Reggie was injured for most of the 2016-17 season and used this time to set up a plan for the period and took every opportunity available to upskill. The list was large in terms of what he wanted to achieve, including investing in rental properties and developing a well-structured and well-managed portfolio. He also started a degree in business studies through the Open Polytechnic, which he is now one year into.

Understanding the importance of work experience, Reggie spent the year working for two days a week in the sales area with Ricoh. He worked in the same manner as an intern, learning the role, cold calling and working alongside experienced representatives in the company who gave him first-class feedback.

With a focus on giving back to the community, Reggie took on some community service work as a part of a volunteer team monitoring closed circuit television monitors in the capital. As part of that role, he had to train and pass an assessment to gain his spot on the team.

Reggie was nominated because of his attitude and commitment during a period of injury. While he has always been positive in the Personal Development space, his approach during the year was outstanding. A lot of injured players can tend to hide-out when injured but Reggie drove a diverse and meaningful plan and arranged regular meetings with his Personal Development Manager Steve Symons to make the most out of his time off the field.

Finalist: Ruby Tui – Black Ferns Sevens:

Ruby Tui’s impressive time management, communication and commitment to furthering her own personal development has been inspirational. She is a true professional athlete in every sense of the word and a self-driven role model for others.

She is completing her final paper for her degree at the University of Canterbury, with a double major in Media & Communications and English. This, alongside the challenges of her sevens commitments, has meant good planning has been crucial for her. Ruby completed work experience with a SKY TV commentary team, which has subsequently led to more opportunities with the organisation.  

The 2017 NZ Women’s Sevens Player of the Year Winner and 2017 World Rugby Women’s Player of the Year Finalist is highly committed to volunteer work and helping charities. She is part of the Duffy Books in Homes programme and visits Duffy schools to presents books and talk to the kids about their achievements and goals. The goal of Duffy Books role models is to tell the kids "It's Cool to Read and Cool to Achieve" and to make a connection between success and reading. Ruby has also supported the Life Education Trust, was a contributor to the New Zealand Rugby Headfirst campaign to promote mental wellbeing to players and is a KidsCan sponsor.

The dynamic woman is part of the Black Ferns Sevens leadership group and sets high standards for herself and those around her. 

Finalist: Tim Bateman – Crusaders

Current Crusader, Canterbury and Maori All Black player Tim Bateman has a purpose and a passion toward self-improvement and personal development, ensuring that he is the ‘best version of himself’. His outstanding achievements as a rugby player are ‘flanked’ by his effort and enthusiasm to continue his study (completing his LLB at the University of Canterbury) and putting himself into experience-based learning opportunities.

Tim has instinctive curiosity, is a natural problem solver and is “not a person to stand still”. He has prioritised his commitments so to have time to research, design and set up a successful business in Christchurch. Tim takes responsibility and is accountable for staff and the daily operation of Cloud 9 Float Club, which provides floatation therapy, along with the ongoing development of high standards within his business. Of course, Tim has plans to grow the Cloud 9 and knows that starts with him investing further time into his own personal development. 

Tim is always open to ideas and discussions to gain experience of what might work and what might not. Tim’s efforts equate to him being a successful person and being respected by players and management as someone with strength of character both on and off the field which rivals most. The father of two also has a wife living with Multiple Sclerosis.

Finalist: Joe Royal - Counties Manukau Steelers

During the Mitre 10 Cup season, Joe began a New Zealand Diploma in Architecture Design and Technology at Unitec and passed both of his second semester papers with good marks.

Proud of his Maori heritage and a former Maori All Black, Joe wanted to make a bigger difference to his culture and successfully applied for a director internship for the Whai Maia board of Ngati Whatua Orakei, the board that looks after the well-being of Ngati Whatua people. He has a goal to become a director once his internship concludes.

Joe also took a young teenager living with Tourette’s Syndrome under his wing. This young man had Tourette’s so badly that he was getting paralysed when he was having episodes and was unable to attend school. Joe kept in regular contact with the 13-year-old and provided some much-needed support and confidence. The boy’s mother, who also has children with ADHD, said Joe’s genuine care and interest for her son had made such a difference in what was a very difficult time for the whole family. Joe went beyond the call of duty to build a genuine friendship, to help provide the teenager with a positive role model and to improve his self-worth. Joe has impressed those around him with his attitude and giving nature.